“Did you look inside, dear? Perhaps it slipped in.”
Jimmy had not. Miss Boutelle did—and I grieve to say, ended by reading the whole letter.
Bob Falloner had finished packing his things the next morning, and was waiting for Mr. Ricketts and Jimmy. But when a tap came at the door, he opened it to find Miss Boutelle standing there. “I have sent Jimmy into the bedroom,” she said with a faint smile, “to look for the photograph which you gave him in mistake for this. I think for the present he prefers his brother’s picture to this letter, which I have not explained to him or any one.” She stopped, and raising her eyes to his, said gently: “I think it would have only been a part of your goodness to have trusted me, Mr. Falloner.”
“Then you will forgive me?” he said eagerly.
She looked at him frankly, yet with a faint trace of coquetry that the angels might have pardoned. “Do you want me to say to you what Mrs. Ricketts says were the last words of poor Cissy?”
A year later, when the darkness and rain were creeping up Sawyer’s Ledge, and Houston and Daddy Folsom were sitting before their brushwood fire in the old Lasham cabin, the latter delivered himself oracularly.
“It’s a mighty queer thing, that news about Bob! It’s not that he’s married, for that might happen to any one; but this yer account in the paper of his wedding being attended by his ‘little brother.’ That gets me! To think all the while he was here he was lettin’ on to us that he hadn’t kith or kin! Well, sir, that accounts to me for one thing,—the sing’ler way he tumbled to that letter of poor Dick Lasham’s little brother and sent him that draft! Don’t ye see? It was a feller feelin’! Knew how it was himself! I reckon ye all thought I was kinder soft reading that letter o’ Dick Lasham’s little brother to him, but ye see what it did.”
I do not think that any of us who enjoyed the acquaintance of the Piper girls or the hospitality of Judge Piper, their father, ever cared for the youngest sister. Not on account of her extreme youth, for the eldest Miss Piper confessed to twenty-six—and the youth of the youngest sister was established solely, I think, by one big braid down her back. Neither was it because she was the plainest, for the beauty of the Piper girls was a recognized general distinction, and the youngest Miss Piper was not entirely devoid of the family charms. Nor was it from any lack of intelligence, nor from any defective social quality; for her precocity was astounding, and her good-humored frankness alarming. Neither do I think it could be said that a slight deafness, which might impart an embarrassing publicity to any statement—the reverse of our general feeling—that might be confided by any one to her private ear, was a sufficient reason; for it was pointed out that she always understood